Amateur Dunlap Shoots 60, Leads Burns by 1 Shot in the 59th AmEx

Amateur Nick Dunlap was in a zone of his own.

The 20-year-old Dunlap posted a brilliant, bogey-free 12-under-par 60 at La Quinta Country Club to take a three-stroke lead over Sam Burns heading to the final round of the 59th version of The American Express.

Every golfer in the 156-man field played La Quinta CC, the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course on the first three days, but the cut was made after 54 holes and the final round will be played exclusively on the Stadium Course.

“The putter felt so good,” said Dunlap, the reigning United States Amateur champion. “The hole looked like a funnel. Looking at this place, like, it’s supposed to be easy, and guys are shooting low numbers, but you still have to go out and do it. It’s still a golf course, and you still have to hit good shots. There’s out of bounds everywhere.

“For (Sunday), there’s a lot of water out there. Just hit one good shot at a time, and try to stack ’em, give myself a lot of good looks and stay in the moment. I think it’s going to be difficult for me, either way. But I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be something that I haven’t experienced yet, obviously, on the PGA Tour.”

Dunlap, a sophomore at the University of Alabama from Huntsville, Ala., holed out from the rough for an eagle on the sixth hole to go with his 10 birdies and recorded a 54-hole score of 27-under-par 189.

Only seven amateurs have won tournaments on the PGA Tour since 1945, with Phil Mickelson being the last when he captured the 1991 Tucson Open when he was a 20-year-old junior at Arizona State.  

Burns, the 36-hole leader, made four birdies on each nine in a 65 on the Stadium Course, while Justin Thomas shot a bogey-free 11-under-par 61 on the Stadium Course and is three shots back in third, followed by Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, who is five behind after holing out from 52 feet for an eagle on the fifth hole in his 65 on the Stadium Course.

“I didn’t think I was going to have to deal with a freaking college kid shooting 60 today,” said  Thomas, the 2017 and 22 PGA champion. “But, he’s going to feel things he has never felt tomorrow.”

Thomas made five birdies on the front nine and six more coming home on the back side, where his tee shot on the 171-yard 17th hole lipped out of the cup.

Said Thomas: “As soon as it got on the ground and it was going to the hole, in my head, I’m like: this is going to go in. That is so cruel.”

Fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State carded a bogey-free 63 on the Stadium Course and is seven strokes behind in a tie for fifth with Eric Cole of Palm Springs, the 2023 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who had five straight birdies on the back nine in a 66 on the Nicklaus Course; Si Woo Kim of South Korea, the 2021 AmEx champion, who eagled the 16th hole in a 66 on the Stadium Course; Adam Hadwin of Canada, who shot his own 66 at La Quinta CC, and J.T. Poston, who had a bogey-free 64 on the Nicklaus Course.

Sixth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA made three birdies on each nine in a 67 on the Stadium Course and is eight shots down in a tie for 10th with Jimmy Stanger, who had a 66 at La Quinta CC.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler totaled three-under-par 69 on the Stadium Course and is in a tie for 39h that in includes 10th-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, who shot a bogey-free 68 on the Stadium Course.

For complete results and final-round tee times, visit:

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